Jul 03 2008 - Aug 11 2013

Media Pirates

Media pirates are people who steal music, movies, games or any media device that is not being offered for free off of the Internet or other resource. Some of them fool themselves into believing what they are doing isn't wrong, while others simply don't care. Taking from others solely for your benefit is surely a moral offense (for the benefit of others is slightly debatable), and taking from others to disbenefit them is an act of malevolence. If you know what you are doing is wrong, and you continue to do it, then you really don't stand by your morals and are useless as a reasonable person. This has nothing to do with others, if you look at yourself and see yourself as morally irresponsible and decide not to change, you are putting yourself above your morals, and therefore it us useless to have any morals, for you shall cast them aside whenever it is convenient to you to do so.

Stealing from the rich is still stealing, no matter what excuse they use. They say it isn't stealing for whatever reason, but when you get something for free that you should pay for it is stealing. They say the companies charge too much for their products, well no one is forcing them to use their products, they are not essential to their survival or well-being. Music is not food, it does not keep one alive. Watching the latest movies doesn't keep disease away. Entertainment products are optional, they do not force you to buy them at those prices, those are the prices the companies believe will garner them the most money. There is another option to stealing, the pirates can simply stop being entertained by the media, they can find cheaper means of entertainment, make their own entertainment, or even buy the media they want, but not stockpiling it as if they are preparing to go on a twenty year voyage with only their MP3 player.

The media pirates say that as long as they're the only ones stealing everything will be fine, tons of other people are paying for the product so why should they. The reasoning behind this is unimaginable; they are using the fact that not everyone steals as a reason for stealing. Would you say this for anything physical, "Oh well other people are paying for their food, as long as they continue to pay for their gas I can steal as much as I want, the oil companies will still end up being exceptionally rich." To justify one's actions based on the fact that other people will owe up for it is to put personal responsibility aside, and to believe that your impact doesn't matter, that your contribution is so insignificant that no one will ever notice if it goes away. These people are belittling themselves and diminishing themselves as a person.

The main reason people think it is okay to steal media is that it's not "real" in the sense that you can hold it; it's all information. They can easily download tons of movies without ever seeing a single disc, to them it's all information and they don't really see it as stealing. These people would not steal a movie from HMV, but would download the same movie at home. They alienate themselves from the fact that they are stealing, that the company doesn't even know the copy exists so how can they know it's missing. This is however stealing, the only other way to see the movie besides downloading it (or having it lent to by a friend, who paid for it), is to actually pay for it. These people refuse to make the connection between the movie they downloaded and the movie other people sell on discs, they are two separate things to these people, one is free, one isn't.

People say this is not theft, as nothing is physically stolen, that the only thing being taken is data, and that is merely being copied, not taken. They say there is no sales loss as they would not of paid for it anyway, they'd only want it for free. Well it has been my experience that there are many things you can't give away for free, unless there is someone else with a need or want for it. Therefore since music is a want not a need (you can't die from a lack of it), you are not entitled to it, if they want to charge money for their service they are the ones with the right to do so, the only right you have is to ignore their service, and not use it. If you want to listen to their music pay for it at whatever price they are selling, if you find the price unreasonable then simply don't buy it, there is no reason to steal their product because you say the prices are unfair. If you were truly protesting their prices you would simply not buy from them, not pirate their work.

People seem to have a sense of entitlement when it comes to movies/songs etc. They think that they have a right to view them, for whatever reasons. However they do not, the people who create the media have the right to distribute it as they see fit, if you do not like it you always have the option open of not listening/viewing/reading their product. To steal someone else's work is to take from them, take away their full potential. It is stealing, it is theft of potential, theft of the creator's right to control their media.

If someone created a beautiful painting and everyone just kept taking pictures of the painting, no physical theft will occur, but there will be the theft of income. Perhaps he could of sold the picture for a few million, but since everyone already has a copy he will have to settle for less. People argue that for media other people are still paying, it's only a minority that actually steal. Well crime is generally committed by a minority of people against the majority, at what point does it become wrong? When 10% of people steal a song? When 30% pirate a game? 40%? 50%? At what point do you say the artists are not being compensated enough for their work?

One thing I have noticed is it depends on what the program is if it's okay to pirate or not. It's a faux pas to pirate Futurama but it's okay to download copies of the Simpsons. Morals don't work that way, it's okay to do something to one group of people but not another, so why is it okay to download something but not something else? If it's wrong to download one thing, it should be wrong to download everything; it shouldn't be the users who decide what is right or wrong to download, but the content creators. You should only download when they have told you it's okay, otherwise you are hurting them, if only slightly; and why would it be okay to hurt certain people but not others?

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